Shanghai to suspend live poultry markets after H7N9 detected

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Shanghai to suspend live poultry markets after H7N9 detected
Photo taken on April 5, 2013 shows chickens are tied up to be dealt with at a market in Shanghai, east China. The government of Shanghai Municipality said on Friday sales of live poultry will be suspended in the municipality from April 6 as the H7N9 strain of avian influenza has sickened 14 people and killed six. [Xinhua] 

Shanghai will temporarily close its live poultry markets starting Saturday after six H7N9 bird flu cases, including four fatalities, were reported in the city, local officials said Friday.

Among the two confirmed H7N9 patients in the city, an adult, who is receiving medical treatment in Ruijin Hospital, is recovering. A four-year-old is being treated in quarantine in a pediatric hospital, said Wu Fan, director of the Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control & Prevention at a press conference.

Nationwide, as of Friday afternoon, China has confirmed 14 H7N9 cases -- six in Shanghai, four in Jiangsu, three in Zhejiang and one in Anhui, in the first known human infections of the lesser-known strain. There have been also two losses of life in Zhejiang.

Of the 119 people who have had close contact with H7N9 patients in Shanghai, only one of them has developed symptoms of a cough, runny nose and itchy throat, but the person's test result of H7N9 was negative, Xu Jianguang, director of the Health and Family Planning Commission of Shanghai, said on the same occasion.

"The key to control the number of H7N9 patients depends on whether the virus can spread among human beings. So far we haven't found any cases that show this kind of virus can spread from people to people," Wu said.

Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center and the Children's Hospital of Fudan University have been designated hospitals for receiving or treating H7N9 patients in Shanghai.

The city will also strengthen monitoring over the H7N9 virus in schools, kindergartens and other public facilities, as well as practitioners related to poultry cultivation.

An around-the-clock hotline, 12320, has been launched for people wanting a consultation.

"Aiming at an overall target of reducing H7N9 infection among human beings and mortality, health departments at all levels in Shanghai should jointly prevent and control the virus, enhance communication with relevant national departments, and further reinforce the monitoring and treatment of H7N9," Xu said.

"We will accurately publicize the information, guarantee the prevention and control materials, and make preparation for the inspection and quarantine in customs," Xu added.

Wu said Shanghai has sufficient medical personnel and equipment to treat anyone with the new virus.

A total of 20,536 chickens, ducks, geese and pigeons from Huhuai Agricultural Products Wholesale Market were slaughtered after the H7N9 bird flu virus was detected from samples of pigeons in the market, Shanghai health authorities said Friday.

The market, located at Dongjing Township of Songjiang District, was the first to be closed earlier this morning.

Excrement, contaminated fodder, padding from cages as well as waste water in the market were disinfected before disposal, according to the agricultural commission of Shanghai municipal.

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